Five Authors Overview


Cedar Falls’ 5 Nationally-known Best-selling Authors

Bess Streeter Aldrich (1881-1954)

She wrote 200 short stories and 13 novels; she was “one of the highest-paid writers of the period.”

Miss Bishop is a novel set in Cedar Falls & ISTC; the film premiered at the Regent Theatre.

Song of Years is another novel set in Cedar Falls.

Aldrich was born in Cedar Falls and attended the Iowa Teachers College (now UNI).

She later got another degree and worked as an assistant supervisor at the Iowa Teachers College.

She lived in Cedar Falls from 1881 to 1909, when she moved to Nebraska.

Aldrich is in the Iowa Women’s Hall of Fame.

Zimri Streeter’s farm was where our Airport is today;

the cabin has been reconstructed & can be visited.

Ruth Suckow (1892-1960)

suckow 1931

She wrote 43 short stories and 9 novels as well as essays; The Folks (novel) a bestseller in 1934 & Literary Guild selection.

She is in the Iowa Women’s Hall of Fame.

After her mother died, her father remarried. His new wife was Mrs. Opal Swindle, who lived in Cedar Falls.

So during the winter of 1922-1923, Ruth lived with them in Cedar Falls.

She married Ferner Nuhn in 1929, and they lived in Cedar Falls during 1931-1932

Ferner and Ruth lived in Cedar Falls.

Did some "guest instruction" gave talks at Iowa State Teachers College

She and her husband, Ferner Nuhn, lived in Cedar Falls several times before retiring out west, first to Arizona and then to California.

She taught part time at the University of Iowa (called the Iowa Teachers' College back then)

Her husband, Ferner, was a founder of the Cedar Falls Supper Club in 1940's that still continues today!

Ferner's father was a successful businessman in Cedar Falls.

Ferner established the first Cedar Falls Art League, which became the Hearst Center.

Ruth and Ferner were friends with Poet James Hearst and his brother Charles Hearst.

She is buried in Cedar Falls' Greenwood Cemetery between her father, Rev. William Suckow, and her husband, Ferner Nuhn, another Cedar Falls author.

James Hearst

James Hearst (1900-1983) gave us more than 600 poems in many volumes.

He was called “the Robert Frost of the Midwest.”

Hearst also published essays and his autobiography, My Shadow Below, which also offers a rich picture of Cedar Falls.

Born on a farm near Cedar Falls, he worked on the family farm, attended Iowa State Teachers college, and joined the army.

He became a paraplegic after a diving accident. He took classes at the University of Iowa and began writing poetry.

He began teaching Creative Writing at Iowa State Teachers College where he retired as a professor of English.

He and his brother were friends with Ruth Suckow and Ferner Nuhn;

Ferner painted a portrait of Charles, his brother, as part of his Figures of the Thirties.

Nancy Price (1925 - )

She has written 11 novels as well and published over 100 poems; and 4 short stories

Her book Sleeping with the Enemy was set in Cedar Falls as are 4 other Price novels.

Sleeping with the Enemy was made into a successful movie, starring Julia Roberts, in 1991

She came to Cedar Falls in 1945 after marrying Howard J. Thompson, who taught at UNI

Her three children were born here: Catherine, John, and David, during the 1950s.

She still lives here today.

Robert James Waller (1939 - )

He has written 7 novels and 5 works of nonfiction.

His best-known book is Bridges of Madison County which was made into both a movie & a musical

Slow Waltz at Cedar Bend begins in Cedar Falls.

Waller was born in Rockford, Iowa

He earned his BA ('62) and MA ('64) from the Iowa State Teachers College (now UNI) in Cedar Falls, Iowa.

In 1968 he started teaching management and economics classes at UNI

He became a full professor in 1977 and Dean of the College of Business in 1980; he retired in 1986.

He is also a photographer and musician.

He now lives in Texas.

Last updated March 5, 2021

Cherie Dargan, Webmaster